The Music of Langston Hughes

Freedom’s Plow – SATB


Product Description

Freedom’s Plow

Judith Clurman Choral Series Octavo

  •  Judith Clurman Choral Series
  •  Hal Leonard
  •  Octavo
  • SATB
  •  Joseph Joubert

Poet Langston Hughes writes, “A long time ago, an enslaved people heading toward freedom made up a song: Keep Your Hand on the Plow! Hold On! The plow plowed a new furrow across the field of history. Into that furrow, the freedom seed was dropped. From that seed a tree grew, is growing, will ever grow. That tree is for you, and me and everybody.” This is for an advanced choir with an accomplished accompanist.

Langston Hughes, a prolific African American poet and writer, penned the powerful lines, “A long time ago, an enslaved people heading toward freedom made up a song: Keep Your Hand on the Plow! Hold On!” These words are emblematic of his profound understanding of the African American experience, and they resonate deeply with the struggles and aspirations of a marginalized community in America. Hughes, born in 1902 and passing away in 1967, was a central figure of the Harlem Renaissance, a cultural movement in the 1920s that celebrated African American art, literature, and music.

Hughes’s poetry often explores themes of racial identity, social justice, and the resilience of the human spirit. His work is celebrated for its ability to convey complex emotions and experiences through accessible language and vivid imagery. His poems frequently serve as a bridge between the past and the present, shedding light on the historical struggles of African Americans while offering hope for a better future.

The lines you’ve quoted from Hughes’s work, “The plow plowed a new furrow across the field of history. Into that furrow, the freedom seed was dropped. From that seed a tree grew, is growing, will ever grow. That tree is for you, and me and everybody,” symbolize the enduring hope for freedom and equality. They remind us of the enduring legacy of those who fought for their rights, and how their actions have paved the way for progress and growth.

For an advanced choir with an accomplished accompanist, performing Langston Hughes’s poetry through song is a profound and meaningful endeavor. Hughes’s words provide a rich source of material for choral music, as they can be set to music that captures the depth of emotion and the spirit of resilience found in his poetry. When a choir sings his verses, they are not only showcasing their vocal talents but also becoming messengers of a powerful message of social change and unity.

Choral performances of Hughes’s poetry also serve as a means of preserving and celebrating African American culture and history. Through their voices and interpretations, choirs pay tribute to the struggles and achievements of the past while inspiring others to continue the work towards justice and equality. Hughes’s poetry is a testament to the enduring power of art to illuminate the human experience and drive positive change.

Langston Hughes’s poetry speaks to the heart of the African American experience, and his words continue to inspire and resonate with people of all backgrounds. For an advanced choir and an accomplished accompanist, bringing his poetry to life through song is a way to honor his legacy, amplify his message of hope and perseverance, and contribute to the ongoing conversation about social justice and equality.

Joseph Joubert Above The Rest

Joseph Joubert stands as a monumental figure in the realm of music, a virtuoso whose multifaceted talents encompass a wide spectrum of musical domains. His journey as a musician, pianist, arranger, orchestrator, Broadway conductor, and music director has been nothing short of remarkable, taking him on a global odyssey of musical exploration and innovation. In the following expanded biography, we delve deeper into the illustrious career and accomplishments of this musical luminary.

Born with an innate passion for music, Joseph Joubert embarked on his musical odyssey at a young age, honing his skills as a pianist with unwavering dedication. Little did the world know that this budding talent would evolve into one of the most versatile and sought-after musicians of his time.

Joseph’s career trajectory has been nothing short of meteoric, with numerous accolades and notable achievements marking his path. In a recent triumphant endeavor, Joubert undertook the role of musical director and orchestrator for the legendary Cynthia Erivo, acclaimed for her portrayal of Harriet Tubman. This collaboration resulted in three sold-out performances in the vibrant city of Tokyo, leaving audiences awestruck by their synergy and musical brilliance.

The forthcoming season promises to be equally captivating for Joseph Joubert, as he assumes the pivotal role of musical supervisor for the much-anticipated production of “Blue” at the historic Apollo Theater. Directed by the illustrious Phylicia Rashad and featuring stellar performances by Lynn Whitfield and Leslie Uggams, this production is poised to make waves in the world of theater. Additionally, the Roundabout Theatre Company will showcase Joubert’s orchestrations in the upcoming presentation of “Caroline, or Change,” further cementing his status as a musical luminary.

Joubert’s involvement in the musical landscape extends far beyond Broadway. Last summer, he collaborated with the esteemed Danny Troob in orchestrating Alan Menken’s “Hercules” for Disney’s PublicWorks, captivating audiences with their mesmerizing interpretation of the beloved classic. He also served as the music supervisor and orchestrator for the Classic Stage Company’s production of “Carmen Jones,” starring the incomparable Anika Noni Rose, earning rave reviews for his transformative contributions.

Joseph Joubert’s Broadway orchestration credits shine brightly in the constellation of his achievements. His work on “The Color Purple” earned him a Drama Desk Nomination, a testament to his prowess as an orchestrator. His contributions to productions such as “Disaster,” “Violet” (another Drama Desk Nomination), “Leap of Faith,” and “Caroline or Change” have left an indelible mark on the Broadway stage. He also served as the Musical Director for the iconic “Motown The Musical” by Berry Gordy and as an assistant conductor for the enchanting productions of “Nice Work If You Can Get It” and “Billy Elliot.” Notably, he was invited as a guest conductor for the New Jersey Symphony Christmas Concert, featuring the renowned Take 6.

Joubert’s talents transcend the boundaries of the theater, as evidenced by his collaborations on the small and silver screens. He played a pivotal role as an orchestrator for the TV series “Smash” and the film “Nights In Rodanthe.” His outstanding work earned him a Grammy nomination for Best Arrangement accompanying a vocal for the Broadway Inspirational Voices’ “Great Joy.”

Beyond his theatrical and cinematic contributions, Joseph Joubert has left an indelible mark on the music industry as a record producer and arranger/orchestrator. His portfolio boasts collaborations with legendary artists such as Ashford and Simpson, Diana Ross, George Benson, Patti LaBelle, and the incomparable Whitney Houston, among many others. His orchestrations are cherished by symphonies across the United States, with prestigious ensembles like the New York Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra showcasing his artistry.

Joubert’s musical journey took an intriguing turn when he graced the Metropolitan Opera stage in a revival of “Porgy and Bess,” taking on the role of the piano-player Jasbo Brown. Critics lauded his performances as “sensitive and supportive,” a testament to his profound understanding of the musical nuances and his ability to elevate any production with his exceptional talents. He has collaborated with classical luminaries like Denyce Graves and Esther Hinds, sharing the stage with esteemed soprano Kathleen Battle in a historic performance at the White House for President Bill Clinton, as well as at the hallowed halls of Carnegie Hall.

Joseph Joubert’s musical prowess knows no boundaries, effortlessly traversing a vast spectrum of genres, from classical to pop, gospel to Broadway, spiritual to R&B. His artistic versatility is vividly showcased in his solo piano albums, “Total Praise” and the recently released “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God: The Joubert Experience,” published by GIA Publications. His published arrangements resonate with musicians and audiences alike, finding their way into performances around the globe.

For five extraordinary years, Joubert served as the Musical Director for the iconic Judy Collins, gracing prestigious stages alongside the London Symphony and major American orchestras. His musical artistry has left an indelible imprint on the world of music, enriching the lives of countless listeners and fellow musicians alike.

In the grand tapestry of the music industry, Joseph Joubert emerges as a brilliant and multifaceted artist whose contributions transcend time and genre. His unwavering dedication to his craft, coupled with his innate musical genius, continues to inspire and uplift audiences worldwide, leaving an indelible legacy that will resonate for generations to come.


Why The Judith Clurman Choral Series

Judith Clurman Elevating the World of Choral Music

Judith Clurman is a distinguished figure in the realm of choral music, celebrated for her remarkable contributions as a conductor, educator, and music director. With a career spanning over three decades, Clurman’s influence has reached far and wide, leaving an indelible mark on the world of choral music.

In 1988, Judith Clurman made her conducting debut with the New York Concert Singers, a professional chorus she co-founded, at the iconic Merkin Concert Hall in New York City. This marked the beginning of a journey that would take her to some of the world’s most renowned concert venues, including Carnegie Hall, the 92nd Street YMCA, and Lincoln Center. Her excellence as a conductor and the exceptional talents of her ensemble were showcased in a “Live from Lincoln Center” PBS broadcast, solidifying her reputation as a leading force in the choral world.

Clurman’s commitment to music education led to the establishment of Project Youth Chorus, an educational program that provided invaluable singing opportunities to students from diverse backgrounds in New York City. Her dedication to promoting contemporary music earned her the first ASCAP-Chorus American Award for Adventuresome Programming of Contemporary Music, highlighting her pioneering spirit in choral repertoire.

Collaboration has been a cornerstone of Judith Clurman’s career. She has worked alongside some of the world’s finest symphonies, including the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the Omaha Symphony. Her partnerships with eminent musicians like James Conlon, Charles Dutoit, and Seiji Ozawa have produced memorable performances that have enriched the global music landscape.

Clurman’s artistic endeavors extend beyond traditional concert halls. She has conducted performances at prestigious venues such as the Mozarteum Grosser Saal in Salzburg and Carnegie Hall, where she commemorated the fifth anniversary of 9/11 with a powerful rendition of the Mozart Requiem alongside the Juilliard Orchestra and Juilliard Choral Singers. Her innovative approach to music led her to create the Lincoln Center Holiday Tree Lighting, a festive celebration featuring new holiday music and collaborations with classical and jazz artists, as well as performances with the beloved Sesame Street Muppets.

Notable highlights of her career include conducting the Concerts for Peace at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, nationally televised events like “Music of the Spirit” on NBC and PBS, and contributing to Howard Shore’s choral music for the SONY movie “The Song of Names.” Her exceptional talents were showcased on the nationally televised July 4th Macy’s Fireworks Spectacular in 2014, where she collaborated with the Diva Jazz Orchestra.

As a trailblazer in the field, Judith Clurman has commissioned and conducted new works by over seventy composers, including luminaries like Philip Glass, Arvo Pärt, and Leonard Bernstein. Her dedication to expanding the choral repertoire has left an indelible mark on the world of contemporary music.

In recognition of her outstanding contributions, Clurman has received two Emmy nominations, including one for her role as Associate Music Director for Sesame Street. Her own compositions and arrangements have been published by prestigious publishers such as G. Schirmer, Hal Leonard, and Schott, and performed by esteemed orchestras across the United States and Canada.

Judith Clurman’s extensive discography on labels like Decca, Delos, and New World encompasses a wide range of musical styles and collaborations, further cementing her reputation as a versatile and accomplished musician. Her dedication to artistry, innovation, and education has earned her invitations as an Artist in Residence at renowned institutions and festivals worldwide.

Judith Clurman’s enduring legacy in the world of choral music is a testament to her unwavering passion, commitment, and dedication to the art form. Her influence as a conductor, educator, and music director has enriched the lives of countless musicians and audiences around the world, making her choral series a true embodiment of her extraordinary career and artistic vision.

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The Music of Langston Hughes

Inspired by his messages of justice, freedom, and the hope that a brighter future lies ahead, notable composers and arrangers have beautifully coupled Langston Hughes' passionate words with equally captivating music.

About This Website

This Music of Langston Hughes website has been developed by the Fred Bock Publishing Group.

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